Why you have to be poor to treat people like Jesus did

Very good look at the way the poor is treated.

Mercy not Sacrifice

The title is everything if you want a well-trafficked blog post. Now my task is to explore whether this provocative statement is actually true. I spent last week reading a couple of Catholic writers offering a provocative definition of “poverty” as a positive state of character. So I thought this could be my contribution to the Despised Ones synchroblog this week on how to show genuine solidarity to marginalized people. I think that you have to become poor to live in true solidarity, which is what God decided to do to humanity by coming to Earth as the poorest man who has ever lived.

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Boils, Church, and Social Injustice

Exodus 9:10 NIV “So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast.”
Ouch! I don’t know if you’ve ever suffered a boil, but it is horribly painful. It is a reddened, tender abscess caused by bacteria that erupts on the skin. A boil can be anywhere in size from a pea to a golf ball. Healing starts when the boil forms pus (a thin, protein-rich fluid that accumulates under the skin as an immune system response) and then bursts.
Boils can burst spontaneously, but many sufferers make a trip to the doctor to get boils lanced (that is, incised and drained). I’ve experienced a few in my younger years and whenever one appeared I hated watching it grow. Discomfort and various degrees of pain followed, depending on which part of my body was infected.
The prophet Isaiah gives instructions on how to get rid of a boil: “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil that he may recover.” Isaiah 38:21 NIV
Yet, another practice cited in one of the books of Moses: “If there is in the skin of one’s body a boil and it heals, and in the place of the boil there comes a white swelling or a reddish-white spot, then it shall be shown to the priest. And the priest shall look, and if it appears deeper than the skin and its hair has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a case of leprous disease that has broken out in the boil. But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in it and it is not deeper than the skin, but has faded, then the priest shall shut him up seven days. And if it spreads in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a disease …” Leviticus 13:18-23 NIV
Wow! Surprised indeed, by this ancient advice about boils then I started thinking: Yes, we find boils on people’s bodies, but also on the body of the church.
When the sword of Christ does not lance various spiritual infections, there is no healing inside or outside the church body.
The sword of Christ, of course, is a symbol of God’s Word. We are to love God with our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies; we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. I mean the church should be a place of healing when a spiritual boil erupts. We have the example of Isaiah to apply a healing balm, or from Leviticus, to seek the guidance of a trusted spiritual leader.
However, festering boils also erupt outside the church, caused by sin in the world. Jesus died on the cross for salvation’s sake. Why must we compel the church to speak about social injustices? Our God is the God of the living, not of the dead. Lord, forgive us for not being risk-takers, for not being change agents, for the sake of your kingdom. Are we never going to lance these boils of social injustice with the sword of Christ? This is why Imoan…

Cheap Grace

Cheap Grace is akin to faux fur, it won’t keep you warm when its cold outside

It will only look like fur, but at the touch your hands will become callous.  Cheap Grace lets you parade around thinking you’re in fashion, but then it starts shedding when the wind blows.  Cheap Grace is like the dye used to give that faux fur the sable look but then it starts to fade.

Cheap Grace is like faux fur, because people ask “Is that real?”

Cheap Grace is like faux fur because it breaks down after every use.

Cheap grace is like faux fur its got a bad smell to it, because it was made by under age children in sweat shops making little to nothing on wages so our CEO’s can live in million dollar homes.

Cheap Grace is like faux fur there is no “assurance” on it, no policy will cover it.

Cheap Grace is like a faux fur when a preacher claims he/she work in the sales department instead of in the “Saving & Loan” department, you can buy cheap grace. A saleman has a script the preacher has the scripture.

Cheap Grace, on sale today.

This is why Imoan

The Verdict of Lindsey Lowe

The Verdict of Lindsey Lowe
The verdict today puts Lindsey Lowe behind bars for the rest of her life. Overwhelming for the family and friends of Ms. Lowe how will they struggle against “odds.” Courtroom benches cry out from sagging stories of ill-fated disabled people in society who cry out in silence because even they do not know what is wrong. Still convinced the answer to all the hurts and struggles must be Prayer in the bowels of earth shuddering stories like this one, God is still alive and well. Perhaps life is not about having all the answers, and it is times like these when we really want answers, but we have to depend upon Jesus and lean not upon our own understanding of circumstances and situations we face and hear about in life. I believe that behind the walls of every heart there are beats that never skip past the God that I serve, it is the soul that needs attention, it indeed is the soul that needs a “Balm from Gilead” to smooth us over the nasty blisters and boils that we cannot lance open without God’s Grace. The worker in the Vineyard says: “But, it’s not fair” is it humanly possible to see Grace as fair? Nevertheless, then again, did God say His Grace was fair or did He say His Grace is sufficient?

“Room in the End”

“Room in the End”

Experiencing a longer chill in the air and a forestalled spring when Easter arrives early, well it appears that it is happening this year, as the people in Middle Tennessee experience a weather that seems full of doubts.  A spring that wants to come at times, and at those times dressed warmly, I stepped out into a ray of beautiful sunshine, as the sun shouts, “Surprise, it is really warm today.”  Shedding sweaters, jackets, and occasional gloves that I wear for extra defense against the weather, found recently on the bargain table at my local department store.  On the other hand, there are those times when I look at the sunshine and find myself chilled to the bone once I step foot outdoors and find the weather so very cold.   Living at one time, my parents had a name or reason for everything that happened including bouts of weather cycles uncommon; yet, familiar to our way of life.  My parents would probably call this “Blackberry Season” and the closest definition I can find for “Blackberry Season” would be the weather taking forever to warm up to spring like days during the season that we would expect the weather to be really hot!

Many churches respond to the cold weather plea of those who are homeless by providing a place for them during certain months of the year.  The program called “Room in the End” operates from October to March in most churches affiliated with this program.  My cat “Lazarus” and I take walks early in the mornings especially during this time of year; we find the temperatures unseasonable cold!  In awe that our churches (not all) but the ones that would end a program so abruptly could find it in their hearts to still want to be called “The Church.”  When will we find a month or so more of compassion to heap on our Brothers and Sisters lacking?  When will we get back to being “Room in the Inn” truly a place that made room for baby Jesus, because baby Jesus wants us to make a place for others?  Our churches should be the mission field set aside for those without, how grateful an old sagging cot would be to have a nice body to cradle at the end of the day.  I pray that someday, we can put the “Inn” back on the End of our churches for the homeless, but until that day Imoan…

Prayer:  Today Lord, I ask for strength to be a voice that is heard and not crucified and to keep voicing words for the homeless so that their voice will come through.  Lord, it is only because of you that I am spared another day let me use it for your good, to spread the gospel, to help garner another for the kingdom.  I realize how we marvel not at those things that bring mystery from above, but we marvel at others good fortunes.  Please Lord, help us to remember you come to visit in so many different ways truly; you are the stranger among us and because of your journey,

Imoan.

 

 

 

A Tribute To Trayvon Martin, Murdered in Florida One Year Annivesary

We must not forget our children dying at young ages from violence in our streets, schools, and homes. Our hearts should bleed today as we witness the one-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin and the injustice he suffered at the hands of one who we should consider a victim of the system of disbeliefs and stereotypes. God has all powers and we have access to that power. Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things God ask us to do, loving our enemies can be the second hardest thing for us to do, but we must do the thing that is most hard if we want that same forgiveness from Jesus. Romans 8:28 Works for me when I find it hard to search myself for the right answers and for the mysteries to unfold so that I might understand when I do not have the willingness to want to, my excuse “But, God I am only human” funny but that just does not work for us if we are truly thriving to make Heaven Home. Right now during the season of Lent, our Jesus is in the Wilderness, He is hungry and can smell bread cooking, He longs for home and can see that great city, as Satan says “Here, it’s all yours” and He knows that He can take off, just fly off if and only if He wants to but He does not test His Father, He does not test Our Father. If we are truly Christ, if we are truly about what Christ is then we are aware of the fact that our God is not a pygmy and because of that we know that we are big. We can keep going towards the light, because we can be the light that shines in this dark world regardless of what we see and what we hear.

The Storm

Today’s Devotional

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  Mark 4:38                        

There is only one mention of Jesus sleeping in the Bible, and that is in the book of Mark.  Because we serve a God that never sleeps, it is one of the mysteries placed here in scripture.  Other than maybe to test the disciples resolve, to show them what He could do for them in the time of a storm, and perhaps to show the disciples that all He has to do is speak and even the storm will obey Him.  Many of us today, are exactly like the disciples, we think we know all the things that Jesus can do; yet, we find ourselves in storms asking the same thing “Jesus, don’t you care if we drown”?  When confronted with life’s applications, such as, sickness, divorce, unemployment, injustices, and death we often times wonder, “Jesus, don’t you care if we drown”?  It is hard to think that our Jesus might be sleeping while we are in the mist of adversity.  So, what do we do?  We hold on, because it does not matter that Jesus sleeps for if He does, He still has His eyes on us; more importantly, He still lives.  Not a slain King do we serve but a Living King that is wide-awake in the mist of all despair.  We cannot let the winds of rejection, hate, loneliness, disrespect and other difficulties blow down our foundation. Nor is the storm the time to be incredulous.   Take your rain gear in the storm, find the moments that light the path to peace, and be not discouraged or afraid that you are going to drown.  The more you know about Jesus the more prepared you will be when a storm arises.

Prayer:  Father there are times when we are really tested and there are times when it does not seem like the test will ever be over.  We possibly cry out “are you going to let us drown” but then we hear your voice and your command in our lives that Peace Be Still and the storm dissipates.  Thank you for the storms, the living streams that water our lives and help us strive to be more and more like you!  In my storms Lord, hold my hand permit me your presence so that I may gaze upon the one who will never leave me in this I pray. AMEN!

From This Day Forward…

Image    John 3: 29

“The one who gets the bride is, by definition, the bridegroom.  And the bridegroom’s friend, his “best man” is in a place at His side where he can hear every word, is genuinely happy”

And, I said unto the Lord,

I, Naomi T. Drake, take thee Lord to have and to hold from this day forward for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to live, love, and to cherish, till death joins us even tighter in eternity.  And with these scriptures, I thereby worship from, so that I will have a good life and wonderful marriage with you Oh, Lord!  In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

God, Us and 911

Tuesday’s Devotional
The test of ones resiliency was in question on 911, not only that but our belief systems were tested.  What came out of the ashes?  When we look at our progress we see that wounds are starting to heal.  Many people who lost spouses are remarried giving us hope that love still lives on.  Those who cannot replace a brother, mother, father, cousin or friend have found some semblance of hope in those who were there for them to lean on.  The Bible states “I will send one that is thicker than a brother” in this case Lord Come!  Discovering a loss of control, many people found hate was the only way for them to get through a period where our Higher Power was showing us the way.  Though the light was dim many refused to look beyond the scarred tissue of the heart to find it.  It was easier to hate than to find the accessible  messages in the Grace of Jesus Christ.  Many continue to stumble around in darkness, drinking their own poison…

s while others have moved to a much safer place, the place called peace.  Peace that surpasses all of our understandings, the peace that says “Be Still” and know that we do have someone who is fighting the battle for us.  Having been close to hate, I know that it is not a good space, it is a virus that spreads, it is contagious and the end result is disastrous indeed.  But, believing that the church pews sagging from the weight of those who came seeking God for answers, and stayed, lifted God up in the time when our enemies thought they had the last laugh.  No, God garnered new believers who came and were touched by the simple but powerful messages sent to the heart when all else failed. We shall never forget in times of trouble when it appears that our enemies are so strong that they will overthrow us, that King Jesus rides in and protects us.  The caveats from our enemies can not do us harm!  We might be rudimentary soldiers, but we are dressed in all of God’s armor to shield us and protect us, and to protect the country in which we live forever and ever!

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Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

How do we find peace in such a chaotic world? All around we find ourselves bombarded with negative messages through the day, and our subliminal conscious teeters on the brink of restless sleep because of the inactive thing called “peace.” One of my favorite beatitudes is “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” There is nothing like peace! Many people dread holiday seasons because they do not experience peace when family members come together. Alternatively, the co-worker with great trepidation daily impeding in our lives, not allowing peace. Peace is so sweet, and those individuals who come dressed in peace and civility are truly “children of God. There is peace in Heaven and God wants us to practice being peacemakers here, so that we will enjoy the world to come, eternity! There are so many people today longing for peace. The peacemaker can mend a broken home, the peacemaker can help to heal a wounded heart, the peacemaker can be comfort in a cold world, and peacemakers are “the children of God”. Being a peacemaker should resonate throughout all of our lives. While some find peace to be allusive, it is important to remember that we must be the peacemaker, and pray that others will follow. How many people today long for peace? It must be the God in us that catapults us toward being peacemakers so that we can be the children of God. We serve a God that is truly on our side not wanting anything but the best for us here in this life and in eternity. My prayer today: Lord, let us love one another as you love us. Let us be the peacemaker in times of confusions, misunderstandings, and conflicts. Today we pray for strength from your mighty hands to do your Will Lord and that love will abide among people of all nations, colors, and creeds. For those who are receptive to your will we know with bold confidence that you are creating a new thing in us. Amen!